Rationalizing why Mike Trout is bad and your guy is the undisputed MVP is an experience that every American League fan will go through at some point over Trout’s career, but tonight on the Houston Astros’ broadcast, the announcers started really grasping at straws.
The game tonight featured the two frontrunners for AL MVP: Mike Trout and José Altuve. There are compelling cases for both players, but one stat that should definitely not factor into any voter’s consideration? Runs scored.
Astros analyst Geoff “Blummer” Blum disagrees! He brought up Altuve’s superior run count while comparing the two players.
“I know Mike Trout is a high-powered guy with those 28 home runs, said “Blummer” by way of writing down Trout’s 47-point edge in OBP as essentially meaningless. “He’s only scored 82 runs when he gets on base. Altuve’s going to be well over 100.”
I thought we had moved beyond runs scored as any measure of value in 2010 at the latest, but whatever, let’s do it. Mike Trout was out for six weeks in June and July this year, which is why going into tonight’s game he had scored 17 fewer runs than Altuve—in 41 fewer games. In all, Trout has scored .19 runs per plate appearance, while Altuve is at .17—he’s better than Altuve at converting his times on base to runs. Going by this ridiculous metric, Trout is the MVP—it makes a worse case for him than a statistic like WAR, which gives Altuve a healthy edge precisely because it accounts for both quality and quantity.
José Altuve is a joy to watch and there’s a very good case to be made that he’s the AL MVP this year. There is no need to sink to these depths to defend his honor.